With already large volumes of information growing ever larger and more complex, most companies face a daunting, multiheaded Hydra of delivering new - and more sophisticated - analytical capabilities, meeting stringent compliance requirements and solving increasingly thorny data management issues. The ongoing impact of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002 is driving the creation sophisticated reporting infrastructures to provide the finance function with access to more detailed transactions in real time. Also, the Basel II Accord of 2004 requires the credit risk organization at companies to have better customer and relationship views to obtain aggregated customer measures of exposure, collateral and related risk.

As if that's not enough, many companies are really taking a hard look at scaling back their customer relationship management (CRM) efforts, despite the fact that customer-centricity is core to most organizations' strategies and drives the need for seamless integration of all aspects of the business and customer. Obviously, addressing data quality problems and eliminating redundant reporting solutions is a top priority. Finding ways to eliminate costs from operating budgets through internal improvement or external outsourcing is also a constant theme. To meet these tough demands, many companies are finding it increasingly necessary to make extensive near-term changes to their foundational enterprise information environments.

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